Sewer, Electrical System to Blame for Infrastructure Freeze

3 years 3 months 1 week ago March 17, 2014 Mar 17, 2014 Monday, March 17 2014 Monday, March 17, 2014 8:40:00 PM CDT in News
By: Nicole Neidenberg, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - More than 3,000 residents moved downtown in the last three years and City Manager Mike Matthes said that's unexpected for any city this size.

"That's unprecedented growth in our history. A lot more electricity needed, a lot more sewage produced, so right now were kind of maxed out in that regard," Matthes said.

Jack Downing adds to the influx of people downtown and said the location is ideal. Downing's apartment complex on South Ninth Street was sold to another proprietor earlier this year with the possibility of being demolished due to poor infrastructure.

"When I first moved in three years ago, I noticed hearing water running from our bathroom and didn't really know what was going on until we looked under the lid and we saw that it was just continuously running water," Downing said.

According to Matthes, the sewage system is one major problem downtown currently. The city is moving toward a "smart growth philosophy," encouraging people to bring density downtown, re-develop instead of greenfield development. However Matthes said, "We have to look at each project and say does this need electricity, will it produce sewage and if it does the end answer is no, you can't build."

Downing's apartment complex was built more than eighty years ago and uses 10 gallons every time the toilet is flushed, according to an inspection done by the city. Newer toilets typically use only one gallon. The project to replace these apartments was approved because it will result in less sewage being produced. On the other hand, Mattes says a new 20-story building downtown, "is a giant increase in the amount of sewage produced and a giant increase in amount of power over using that land today, so that's one we have to say no to right now."

Downing said he's uncertain with the city's decision on the downtown infrastructure freeze.

"With the new business and influx of people your kind of torn because you don't want the city to do anything that they shouldn't be doing with the water system, but at the same time you kind of want them to keep building up downtown," Downing said.

One setback Columbia's sewer system is having is too much rain getting into the sewer pipes, which can only handle so much pressure. "It begins to shoot up and then we have raw sewage running into the creeks, down the streets and into people's basement," Matthes added.

In the 1930s, sewer pipes were made out of cardboard, which still linger underground, but while the city is replacing the cardboard pipes, the brick pipes are leaking and causing more damage. Matthes said the cheapest solution in fixing the pipes is to reline with concrete epoxy, which is stronger than concrete and can dry in damp environments. The city said it's doing that now.

"We have some brick sewers that are over 100 years old, downtown's main trunk line," Matthes said. "It's brick so there's mortar and that doesn't stand up over time either and those are the kind of things we want to get into and reline or replace."

Currently, there is $1.6 million of cash in reserves the city could put toward improving the sewer system. Matthes said to complete the necessary sewer work downtown the city will need an additional $12 million. This money would have come from a proposed tax increment financing district, or TIF. The TIF was proposed at the city council meeting on March 4, 2014, but it did not pass.

Another problem associated with adding unprecedented growth in a short amount of time is supplying enough electricity. Utility services specialist, Connie Kacprowicz said more people equals more power.

"During last budget year we made a plan to add an additional feeder line, which will bring in additional electricity to the downtown area from the Rebel Hill substation," Kacprowicz said.

Right now, Columbia's downtown district gets all of its electricity through the power plant on Business Loop 70, but since the Rebel Hill substation on St. Charles Road has a free circuit, one line will be used to help generate downtown bringing in seven more megawatts.

"That line is going to be using some of the existing infrastructure. The cost of that is $1 million and that was budgeted for the fiscal year 2013, so that project is currently underway," Kacprowicz said.

That $1 million is generated not by taxes, but by electricity bills. The difference between the electric system and the sewer system is the electric system is all interconnected.

Eight different substations generate Columbia's electricity. A substation transforms voltage from high to low, or the reverse. Electric power can flow at any given time through several substations at different voltage levels with the end product supplying electricity to homes and businesses.

"If we see a line go down or more electric use in one area, we can usually re-route that power and make sure it gets to that area, so when your looking at an electric system it's really only as strong as its weakest link," Kacprowicz said. "We're constantly looking at the electric load to see where the electricity is being used and how much is being used."

To ensure transferring one line to another circuit or bringing in a new circuit Kacprowicz said an electric system should never be running at 100 percent for flexibility purposes.

With the changes to come downtown Downing said he hopes it's for the best.

"We love living where we do here. So as long as it's within the city regulations with water use or electricity, we love to see the new stuff come up," Downing added.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services will offer free HIV testing during normal business... More >>
2 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 1:00:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Representatives Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, and Martha Stevens, D-Columbia, addressed a forum of about 70 people Monday night, speaking... More >>
5 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 10:28:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A judge sentenced a Columbia woman found guilty of second-degree murder to 20 years in state prison today.... More >>
7 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 8:07:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Conventions and Visitors Advisory Board (CVB) gave an informational update regarding MU's plan to rent out... More >>
8 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 7:37:00 PM CDT in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - Two families have stepped forward in agreement with allegations made about inmate mistreatment at the Moniteau County... More >>
8 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 7:25:00 PM CDT in News
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is meeting with donors aligned with the Koch brothers. ... More >>
8 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 7:01:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The people involved in a double shooting in Columbia Monday apparently knew each other, according to the Columbia... More >>
9 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 6:19:00 PM CDT in News
JENNINGS, Mo. (AP) — A suburban St. Louis narcotics suspect who collapsed during police questioning has died and a police... More >>
9 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 6:14:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A man drove into Mizzou Arena through a closed gate on the south side early Sunday morning and... More >>
10 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 5:33:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City area teenager told police he was high on mushrooms when he crashed his car... More >>
11 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 4:26:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia College will ban tobacco use on its campus starting in August. This includes traditional products like... More >>
12 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 3:21:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police are looking for a 15-year-old boy who is suspected of fatally shooting one man and... More >>
12 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 3:03:18 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Foundation for Health has awarded $700,000 to support the construction, planning and programming of an agriculture... More >>
13 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 2:56:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri serves 32 counties per year, but seasonal challenges may make... More >>
14 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 1:49:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri NAACP is issuing an advisory telling travelers to be careful while in the state... More >>
14 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 1:36:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Sometimes we feel like we just need some assistance to gain our competitive edge, right? We are training... More >>
15 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 12:55:00 PM CDT in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek... More >>
18 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 9:26:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Confederate monument will be removed by Friday from a St. Louis park under a deal... More >>
18 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 9:16:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
4am 55°
5am 54°
6am 53°
7am 57°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:00a
Mad Money
4:00a
Early Today
4:30a
KOMU 8 News Today
3:30a
Paid Program
4:00a
Paid Program
4:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:00p
World of Dance
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
iZombie
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld